Don't just read science but do science: A tale on illegal mining activities in Birm, Ghana
Hard work they say pays. Being invited by the MEL Manager of SERVIR West Africa, Mr. Moussa Sayo Issoufou to participate in the SERVIR West Africa (WA) workshop was a great pleasure. I was thrilled when I received the invitation after we met at the Africa Geospatial data and Internet Conference 2019.
Michael Batame with Mr. Moussa Sayo Issoufou at CERSGIS.
The workshop was a collaboration between GLOBE and SERVIR West Africa to train participants from countries such as Ghana, Niger and Senegal. This workshop was hosted by University of Ghana Center for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (CERSGIS). The training was on GLOBE Water Quality Measurements Protocol held from October 30, 2019 to November 1, 2019. The main objective of training was to increase awareness of the SERVIR WA Clubs members throughout the West African region about the condition of water in their communities. In view of this, communities will also benefit as it is connected to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6.3.2, 4 and 5 (Girls in science and Education), and 2 (Potential for future growth of indirect relationship between water quality and food security). The activities that took place within the days are detailed below.
On day one, all participants from near and far converged at the venue to kick start the workshop. A presentation was given by SERVIR West Africa Coordinator. SERVIR West Africa, through its Gender strategy, is committed to increase scientific understanding of the youth about the impact of the Climate Changes and support improved student achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). SERVIR Clubs are being implemented in (Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana) by SERVIR WA Program in collaboration with GLOBE. GLOBE means Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment. SERVIR WA in collaboration with Globe seek to train students through their teachers on how to collect environmental data in their various communities. It is a hands-on environmental Science and Education. This kind of volunteering is passion driven but not money. The discussions that took place included GLOBE Program, GLOBE Hydrology Protocol, Water Temperature quality, pH protocol, dissolved oxygen content protocol, electrical conductivity protocol and Globe workshop tools.
(Left) This instrument is known as Sechi Disk which is used to take the measurement of the depth of running water. (Right) The macro lens is clipped on the lens of the camera of the mobile phone and then the camera is activated to determine whether there is larva in the water fetched.
On day two, there was an intensive training on how to use GLOBE applications to collect environmental data. The training highlighted on several protocols such as transparency protocol, Mosquito protocol, salinity protocol, Alkalinity protocol, the use of NASA GLOBE Observer app to collect data on Mosquito, how can data be entered into GLOBE data archive, GLOBE data retrieve and visualization by using the viz tools, GLOBE website Navigation, eTraining module and Preparation of the field activities.
Finally, a field visit was made to Osino in the Eastern Region of Ghana on 1st November, 2019 to practice the theory gained during the previous days.
(Left) One of the participating teachers practicing how to measure the depth of the running water with the Sechi disk. (Right) Students measuring the amount of cloud cover in the sky beside the flooded area to know the GLOBE Cloud protocol impact in the water quality measurement.
This arable land has been degraded to this state as a result of illegal mining activities.
It saddens my heart to the “galamsey” activities ongoing in the area upon the measures government has put in place.
According to interview conducted, “the galamsey site you see in the video was to be reclaimed by a contractor. This contractor also extracted gold from the destroyed land instead of reclaiming the land. After the harm he caused to the land again, he left the place without finishing the reclamation”.
The research team at Osino Senior High School.
Indeed, I am grateful to the Almighty God for this wonderful exposure and network so far. Secondly to SERVIR WEST AFRICA and YouthMappers for the platform given me to help address environmental challenges in my country and other parts of the world. Moreover, to Ibrahima Diallo from Senegal who introduced me to Mr. Moussa Sayo Issoufou at AGDIC, 2019. Finally, to Mr. Moussa Sayo Issoufou for inviting me to join the workshop and University of Ghana YouthMappers for supporting me in diverse ways towards creating a resilient environment through mapping. Let us not just read science but practice science in our day to day activities. #Stopillegalminingandsavetheenvironment.